This is it. The best of the best. In my opinion, the greatest villains in comic book history.
Once the young and courageous District attorney of Gotham City, Harvey Dent’s life went completely to hell when he had the left side of his face horribly scarred during a trial. This incident drove Dent mad, and he became the Duality obsessed crime lord, Two-Face. He makes all of his decisions by flipping his signature coin, one side clean, the other scarred. Let’s hope if you ever run into Two-Face, the coin lands clean.
Out of all of Batman’s villains, Two-Face is my all time favorite (alongside Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Ivy and Riddler) and it is for TWO reasons: first, it’s the visual. Simple, but striking portrait of a man who is literally split between good and evil. The second is his back story. You see, Harvey Dent always had a dark streak within him, spawned from years of abuse from a cruel father. He has tried his best to keep it controlled, but once the acid burnt half his face off, it physically manifested into the Two-Face persona and Harvey became the villain he never wanted to be. In some stories, Dent has even gotten plastic surgery to heal himself, (most famously in the Dark Knight Returns) but even then, the “scars” still remain and tragically, Two-Face always returns.
Once known as Richard swift, the Shade was once an early foe for Jay Garrick, the first Flash during the Golden Age of Comics, with the power to manipulate shadows via his cane. However, in the 90s, the character went through a complete character overhaul. Now an immortal and morally ambiguous anti-hero and English gentleman, The Shade became a popular supporting character of James Robinson’s critically acclaimed Starman series, where he acted as a mentor to Jack Knight, the latest bearer of the Starman mantle.
This portrayal of the Shade has always been my favorite. He was charismatic, charming, and had a delicious sarcastic streak. He also has amazing levels of depth, for while he would occasionally steal and kill whenever he wants and where ever he wants, he does have a sense of honor and always keeps his word. He has made Opal City (home of Starman and setting of the series) his home and would defend it against anyone who would dare to threaten it. And while he shows a confident front, there are times where he regrets his immortal state, as he has been force to watch everyone he had ever loved grow old and die, while he stayed the same. The tragic backstory, combined with natural charisma has made The Shade into one of the most popular villains in comics and one of my all time favorites.
No one crosses the wall. Amanda Waller is a force to be reckoned with. Coming from a working class background, Amanda worked her way up to become one of the most powerful women in the DC universe. Head of government agency Task Force X and leader of the Suicide Squad, (a group of criminals force to go on covert missions for the government), she strongly believes in “the ends justifies the means”. Especially when it comes to protecting the public from super-powered groups like the Justice League. Ruthless, head strong and doesn’t take any BS from anyone, Amanda is at times a dangerous adversary and an uneasy ally and while there are times were she often regrets her actions, she still continues to do whatever it takes to keep the world safe. No matter what means she has to take.
I’m at a crossroads when it comes to Waller: sometimes I hate her because she is a complete bitch, but at the same time, I respect and admire how strong she is in her convictions and the lengths she will go to achieve her goals, even if it means blackmail. She is also one of the few people who can stand up to Batman and force him to back-down. Like I said, NO ONE crosses the Wall.
My favorite Spider-man villain, and one of Marvel greatest villains, Dr. Otto Octavious ,AKA, Dr. Octopus.
A lab accident not only wielded those 4 mechanical arms to his spine, it also drove the good doctor completely mad, obsessed with proving his genius to the world and then, take it over as its new master.
Out of all the villains in Spider-man’s rogues galley, Dr. Octopus is arguably the greatest. Not only does he possess a genius level intellect, but his mechanical arms can be used as defensive and offensive weapons, able to keep up with Spider-man’s speed and agility, lift over a hundred tons and can be adapted to conceal Tasers or rotating blades.
Otto has accomplished so much in his career: he defeated Spider-man in their first confrontation (to the point where Peter consider quitting being a superhero), he formed the Sinister six, beat Black cat within an inch of her life and stole a nuclear device and almost destroyed New York with it! He was even the first (official) villain to unmask Spider-man! However, he didn’t believe Peter could be Spider-Man and spared him, but if it wasn’t for his arrogance, Peter would have died.
I have always loved Dr. Octopus, because in many ways, he is what Peter COULD have been if he went down the wrong path and used his powers for his own selfish ends. I much prefer the classic image above than the recent Superior nonsense (not a fan, sorry). Hopefully, The real Dr. Octopus will return to wreak havoc on the world!
Wilson Fisk, by day he is a kind and generous philanthropist, but night, he is the undisputed Kingpin of crime in New York City.
Originally, Fisk was a Spider-Man villain, but during Frank Millar’s run on Daredevil, he became Matt’s primary nemesis. He also went from a would be super villain to the more complex and ruthless crime boss he is known as today.
While he doesn’t possess any powers, Fisk is at the peak of human perfection, physically. A skilled and highly accomplished martial artist (despite his appearance) Kingpin has held his own against the likes of Spider-Man, Captain America and his arch-enemy, Daredevil. He also has a highly intelligent mind, orchestrating and planning many intricate plans from his base in the Empire State building. The height of Fisk’s rivalry with Murdock came to ahead during the famous “Born Again” saga, where he discovers Matt’s secret identity and systematically started to destroy every aspect of his life, all form the comfort of his headquarters.
Like many great villains, there is more to Wilson than initially meets the eye. While he can be ruthless and cruel to his enemies, he once had a beautiful wife and son. But, like Corleone from Godfather, Fisk’s life in the underworld would slowly start to destroy his family, from the inside out. First, he lost his son,and later lost his wife and all he has now is the title of “Kingpin of Crime”.
God of mischief, evil, and lies. Disgraced son of Asgard, devious trickster and harbinger of Ragnarok. Loki is all of this and more. He is one of Marvel’s most (in)famous and iconic villains, Loki is also the lead villain in the MCU. And while the movie version is good, his comic book counterpart is even better.
A master sorcerer, Loki’s powers include teleportation, mind control, summoning monsters, shape-shifting and super-strength (like all Asgardians). However, his greatest power isn’t his strength, it’s his intellect. The original Master manipulator, he has tricked and deceived many heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, including Thor, the Avengers, Spider-Man, X-men and even the likes of Magneto and Dr. Doom. No small feat. His crimes are long and numerous: tried to conquer Asgard and all the other realms on multiple occasions (almost caused Ragnarok once), tried to steal Thor’s power for his own ends, tricked numerous heroes and villains to fight each other for his own amusement, possessed the body of Thor’s lover to mentally torture him, orchestrated his own adoption through time travel and turned Thor into a frog. Just because he can. His most iconic moment was when Loki indirectly caused the formation of The Avengers, Earth’s greatest heroes (and one of my favorite super-hero teams).
Recently, Loki has gone through a character evolution, being reincarnated into a younger version of himself, and has seemingly changed his ways. It is unknown if he will stay on this path, but one thing is certain: whatever Loki does, he does for Loki.
For me, there is only one person who earns the title of Batman’s greatest foe. No, it’s not Joker. It’s the demon’s head, Ra’s Al Ghul. He has lived for centuries, his life extended thanks to the mysterious and mystical Lazarus Pits, and has accumulated a vast knowledge of Science, philosophy, warfare, fighting styles and wisdom during his lifetime which greatly surpasses Batman’s. Leader of the League of Assassins, Ra’s has but one goal, to save the planet. There is but one problem: he must wipe out half the population on earth to do it.
What makes the rivalry between Batman and Ra’s so unique is the level of respect each one has for the other, especially from Ra’s. He has always held “the Detective” in the highest regard and sees him as the ideal man to replace and continue his mission. To make things more complicated, Talia, Ghul’s daughter, has harbored romantic feelings for batman for years (and the feeling is mutual). However, while tempting, batman has rejected Ra’s offer and his insane plans for world domination, which has made their rivalry more and more bitter over the years. Things have gotten even more personal, as it was discovered that Talia gave birth to her’s and Bruce’s son, Damian Wayne, the current robin.
Calculating, cold, and extremely ruthless, Ra’s Al Ghul will stop at nothing to achieve his plans for a purified earth. In the memorable story-line, “Tower of Babel” The Demon’s Head defeated the entire Justice League! Using plans that Batman himself devised in case the league ever went rogue, Ra’s systematically picked off Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and more. And his plan failed, his actions would expose the depth of batman’s paranoia and lead to his resignation from the League. It also shows that nothing will stop the Demon. NOTHING.
Darkseid is without a doubt, the most evil and cruel being in the DC universe (sorry Joker). Ruler of the hellish planet Apokolips, Darkseid belongs to a race of immortal beings, known as the New Gods. But, where as his brother High Father rules New Genesis with kindness and compassion, all subjects of Darkseid are subjected to the worst kinds of torture and humiliations, which makes controlling them all the more easier. Darkseid seeks the fabled Anti-Life equation, a source of power so limitless, it would allow him to control the wills and minds of every living being in the universe, and force them to remake it in his own image.
Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings to ever exist, with Super strength, stamina, invulnerability and reflexes, as well as his power Omega Beams. Once fired from his smoldering eyes, the Omega Beams can instantly destroy anyone or anything in their radius, and can even bring them back into existence, as long as Darkseid permits it. His greatest strength however, is his intelligence and cunning. From his throne on Apokolips, Darkseid has manipulated the heroes of the DC universe for his own malicious ends, from turning the public against them or make them his pawns. Among Darkseid’s many opponents are his estranged son, Orion, and Earth’s greatest hero, Superman. In-fact, out of all the villains he has faced, Superman hates Darkseid, perhaps even more than Lex luthor. Darkseid even went as far as to abduct Supergirl and brainwash her into becoming his personal warrior.
Eventually, Darkseid acquired the power of the Anti-Life, and had supreme control of Earth and every single thing in the universe, forcing Batman to break his “no guns” rule and shoot the mad new god with a specially designed bullet (the same kind that was used to kill Orion earlier). But, Darkseid got the last laugh, and blasted Batman with his Omega Beams, seemingly killing one of Earth’s greatest heroes. Even in defeat, Darkseid will still continue to plot and plan out his next move, for there is only one certainty in this universe: Darkseid is.
While Dr. Octopus is my favorite Marvel villains, i can’t deny that there is someone who is just as great, if not better than the good Doctor. That, of course, is the Green Goblin. The Arch-nemesis of Spider-Man, Norman Osborn was monster long before he donned the goblin mask. A ruthless businessman and neglectful father, Norman was determined to become the best at every thing he did. When he attempted to create a powerful, strength enhancing formula, the Goblin serum, something went wrong. The formula blew up in his face, and he gained increased strength and intelligence, but also went mad. This drove him to become the Green Goblin. Norman is essentially what happens if you combine Lex Luthor and the Joker: a brilliant criminal genius, and a murderous psychopath.
When one thinks of the Green Goblin, they instantly think of the night Gwen Stacy died, and Goblin’s subsequent death afterwards. But, death only made the Green Goblin even more terrifying. His face would continue to haunt Peter for years, resurfacing again and again, usually with someone new under the mask. From Harry Osborn, Norman’s son, to Roderick Kingsley who re-made himself into the Hobgoblin. And while the impact of his death has sadly lessen thanks to his resurrection in the 1990s, his impact on comics is still strong. Killing a supporting character such as Gwen was unheard at the time, and it paved the way for more serious and darker comics. This was known as the Bronze age of comics, where heroes became more flawed, villains became more cruel and real-life issues were being addressed in comic books (drug use, alcohol and racism). The Bronze age would lead into the Modern age, where comics became more complex and sophisticated . Titles such as Watchmen, Dark Knight and V for Vendetta helped to redefine comics for modern times and show that they were not just things for children. All of this started because a women died, thanks to the madness of one man. It’s why Norman should have stayed dead, as he had more impact deceased then he ever did alive. And while there have been a few good Goblin stories since his return (Revenge of the Green Goblin is a great example), there have been just as many ill-advised attempts to keep him relevant, such as turning him into the Lex Luthor of Marvel during Dark Reign. Still, despite this, Green Goblin’s impact on the comics medium is still being felt today, and should never be forgotten.
Doom. You talk to any comic book fan and asked them who the greatest villain in comics is, it’s usually a tie between Joker, Lex, Magneto, Galactus and the ruler of Latveria, Dr. Victor Von Doom.
A master of both the realms of magic and science, Doom’s intelligence is rivaled only by his arrogance and pride. For Doom, there is no equal to his greatness and no task too impossible to accomplish. He has fought every hero in the Marvel universe, from his arch-foes the Fantastic Four (with a specific hatred toward Mr. Fantastic), Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, Hulk, Luke Cage and even other villains such as Magneto, Red Skull and even Galactus!
Doom has only one goal: to take over the world and rule it with an iron fist, and unlike most villains, he has actually succeeded. Twice! First, he stole the cosmic powers of the Silver Surfer and singled handily conquered the whole world in just a few hours! The second time, he used the mind-control powers of the Purple Man to control the wills of everyone in the world and created a perfectly content and ordered world. But, he willingly gave it up, because he got bored!
Doom has at-least one “victory” over his hated rival Reed Richard, Mr Fantastic: when Sue was having difficulty giving birth to their second child, Johnny reached out to Doom and begged him to help. Doom agreed, but on one condition: he gets to name the child himself and become her godfather. The Fantastic Four reluctantly agreed to these demands, the delivery was a success, and Doom named the child after his one, true love, Valeria. So now, whenever Reed and Sue look at their daughter, they will always remember the debt they owe to Doom.
Dr. Doom would even travel to the bowels of hell (accompanied by Dr. Strange) in order to free his Mother’s soul from the devil himself. And he succeeded! Not even the fires of hell can stop this man!
But, he is no ordinary man. He is greater than any man. He is the ruler of Latveria,and soon the whole world. He is Doom. And he is the greatest villain in comic book history.
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